On December 21, 2010 the Barack Obama Administration–via its Federal Communications Commission (FCC)– illegally imposed Network Neutrality.
Net Neutrality allows the government to regulate every website on the World Wide Web–a tremendous First Amendment free speech problem.
And on February 4, 2011 Wu became:
(A) senior advisor to the (Obama Administration’s) Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for consumer protection and competition issues that affect the Internet and mobile markets.
Great news, eh? What First Amendment goodness has Obama Administration Advisor Wu been up to of late? This.
Free Speech for Computers?
In today’s world, we have delegated many of our daily decisions to computers. On the drive to work, a GPS device suggests the best route; at your desk, Microsoft Word guesses at your misspellings, and Facebook recommends new friends.
In the past few years, the suggestion has been made that when computers make such choices they are “speaking,” and enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.
This is a bad idea that threatens the government’s ability to oversee companies and protect consumers….
Wu wants the government to know where we go via GPS, what we write on word processing software and who we Friend on Facebook.
That isn’t at all totalitarian and creepy.
(W)hen you turn to Google with a question, the search engine must decide, at that moment, what “answers” to give, and in what order to put those answers. If such answers are speech, then any government efforts to regulate Google, like any efforts to bowdlerize Ann Landers, must be examined as censorship….
But if we call computerized decisions “speech,” the judiciary must consider these laws as potential censorship, making the First Amendment, for these companies, a formidable anti-regulatory tool.
Ummm, yeah–that’s sort of the point.
Wu is absurdly asserting that what you type in the “Search” field is protected speech–but the results you get are not. The “Search” results being, of course, a dead giveaway as to what you typed in the “Search” field.
Do you want the government having blanket access to where you go, what you write and for what you search–just because you did any of it on a computer? Neither do I. Wu does.
ObamaCare contains in its monstrous folds the regulation of any computer or device on which you do anything health-related, including storing health records. Wu–obviously an overachiever–goes several huge steps further.
The First Amendment has wandered far from its purposes when it is recruited to protect commercial automatons from regulatory scrutiny….
The line can be easily drawn: as a general rule, nonhuman or automated choices should not be granted the full protection of the First Amendment, and often should not be considered “speech” at all….
Computers make trillions of invisible decisions each day; the possibility that each decision could be protected speech should give us pause.
“Computers make trillions of invisible decisions”–devised, designed and elicited by…people. For whom the First Amendment acknowledges unlimited free speech.
What should give us pause is that people like Wu teach at our universities–and are “advisors” to this administration.
To give computers the rights intended for humans is to elevate our machines above ourselves.
No, it means when we speak via our computers–we’re still speaking. Which makes us the masters of our machines–and our machines free from Congressional speech abridgment.
The First Amendment–and the Constitution in its entirety–makes us the masters of our government. Wu wants to turn that relationship the other way round.